Rejuvenated!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt on 01/19/15:  “Tell us about the last experience you had that left you feeling fresh, energized, and rejuvenated. What was it that had such a positive effect on you?”

As I mentioned in a previous post, “Tennis Player”, I enjoy warm sunny days, playing tennis with Boyfriend. Sunday (01/18/15) was the first opportunity we have had in quite awhile to play, and I enjoyed every minute. The sun was shining, the wind was nonexistent, and the temperature was 68 and beautiful. Boyfriend and I smiled and ran each other around the court pretty well! The courts where we play are well-kept, have good traction, are blue and white (which I prefer to green and burnt red) and are situated near a serene landscape. We are happy to live near multiple courts, which enables us to play tennis rather than spend our tennis time searching or waiting for a court Playing tennis gives us both a good workout, with both long points and quick bursts of energy (aerobic and anaerobic, cardio and high intensity movement). This combination allows for a fun and pleasant experience for Boyfriend and me. 

I feel fortunate to live in Central Texas most of the time, especially in winter. Even though we had several weeks of cold and rain, we didn’t get snow and, while it was dreary and mostly unpleasant for the past few weeks, it was warmer than in would have been in the Midwest. Even with warmer winter temperatures, we have not had a day that was fitting for us to play tennis in almost two months. The ability to enjoy an activity together, sweat a little and feel my muscles work was something I had been looking forward to all week as I watched the weather forecast. I feel glad that we seized the moment, as the weather has returned to cold, windy, cloudy and rainy the past few days. On the bright side, it’s not snow, though it could turn into ice.

I find being in the sun refreshing and rejuvenating while walking, sitting outside, especially when I take a few minutes away from work. I used to spend a lot of time driving with my previous job, more than I do now, and the office I worked from had several large, third floor windows that allowed for sun and natural light. I could sometimes duck over to a Starbucks to sit outside while typing case notes to both work and relax a little. Now, if I can, I take a lap or two around the office building to escape from my windowless office, sometimes with music on my phone for a bit of oomph.

Sometimes I drive, with good music and the windows open can be rejuvenating. I recently had the chance to drive back and forth from San Antonio for training on the toll road. Rather music, a good stretch of the ride was taken in silence as I delighted in little traffic on the 80-mile-an-hour toll road, alone. Unlike some, I normally enjoy driving and have often taken to the road as a refuge and a little time to collect my thoughts or decompress after a stressful day.

In this stressful world, you have to find ways to rest, relax and rejuvenate!

© blogdaysofchrell 2015

Faith

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In Good Faith.”

My faith has fluctuated throughout my life. I grew up Roman catholic, then lost touch and have, over time, found a comfortable level of faith-based beliefs and independent spirituality. I believe in God and that He gave us free will.  I believe that miracles can happen. I believe that we sometimes face challenges that help us learn and grow. I believe that He can intervene in life but I am sometimes confused how it all works, the why and how of it, and I don’t believe that He saves close parking spaces.

I recognize times in my life when I got a favor and I was clearly given a hand, if you will, though I struggle with faith in other situations. I had an alternator go out while I was driving on a city street but I was able to keep the car running long enough during a brief red light to turn a corner, turn into a business parking lot and park the car in a towable parking space before the car completely shut off. I believe that I was kept safe in a situation that could have gone wrong. I was a on a two-lane street with no street parking available, my panel was not lit and I had no idea of the speed I was going. If the car stopped in the middle of the street, it likely would have resulted in an accident. This car presented me with other similar situations and I was protected each time, thank God. I also believe that God has helped me through some tough times.

I struggle with faith when it comes to bad things repeatedly happening to good people and the suffering they endure, seemingly while bad people carry on with minimal consequences. They somehow manage to get sympathy, justification for their bad behavior and, in some cases, multiple chances for redemption, while others get the book thrown at them for the smallest of infractions. I am told that they will “get theirs in the end”, that “God’s justice is not the same as human’s justice”, and that “everyone deserves a second chance.” Yes, and I am familiar with the Holy Bible’s stance on this  in Matthew 18:21-22 NASB.

“Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

I get that we are all human and that we will have our day of judgment to answer for what we have done in our lives. I am even sympathetic to the plight of the wronged and abused who were not taught a better way and committed horrible acts but I believe that they still, in many cases other than severe mental illness, made a choice. We are all held accountable for our actions and the choices we make, especially as adults. I believe in forgiveness and its power to free us, yet I also believe that our forgiveness of others can be taken for granted.

I believe in free will and I believe in divine intervention, but I often wonder how God decides when and when not to intervene. Why does He intervene in some situations and not others, especially a situation of magnitude? Or did He try to intervene and the people were willful, preventing a different outcome? I contempt this as I see terror attacks, wars, crimes against humanity by companies, countries and individuals, oppression, child abuse, and a world in which the most basic human freedoms are being restrained and struck down by powerful individuals working for the supposed “greater good”.

I have faith that there are good people who care about others and about what is going on around them, and I have faith that they can make a difference by speaking out, helping and educating others and by just being honest, decent human beings. Maybe God is using them as instruments to fight back against the evil order at work. Although I try to be a realist, I remain optimistic that life can get better, even as I see signs of life getting harder, and that humanity can band together to fight for true good – freedom, liberty, healthy non-genetically modified food, clean air and water, self-defense, self-sufficiently, an end to wars and power struggles, true healthcare rather than sickcare, individualism and respect for our likenesses and differences. We all need to have faith.

It’s 2015!

Happy New Year! I have recently been reaching out to old friends and going through photographs, as many people do around this time of year. I realize that people get busy and that life happens, sometimes we lose touch for awhile. As I get older, I also realize why I would still welcome contact with some long-lost friends while I am comfortable with some friends staying in the past. We grow, we change or at least we should mature, and we see that some people are not good for us. We moved on for a reason. I hope to stay in contact with good people this year, and to remember why I have moved forward without a few people.  I wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR, with strength, health and happiness!

Grown Up

When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?

Bear

Being well into my 30’s, I think I should feel like a grown all the time but I don’t.  I think I have always had an idea of what being a grown should be like and yet, it doesn’t seem to fit. I have a full-time job, a long-term relationship, a car, an apartment, a cat, and small signs of growing older (a few random grey hairs, sunspots and creases). I can think of a few moments when I thought to myself, “Wow! I feel like an adult, I did it,” and then the moment passes. Maybe it is because I still like a lot of things I did when I was younger: hair band music, stuffed animals, Beavis and Butthead, Charlie Brown cartoons, ice cream and I somewhat resist dressing like an adult unless the occasions calls for it. Maybe it is because I viewed being grown-up as being like my parents and though I have commonalities with them, I am very different.

The moment that stands out for me as me feeling like a grown-up was buying my first car. With a little assistance, I bought the car, cleaned it, maintained it and eventually paid it off. I was fully responsible for the car and it enabled me to get to and from work, allowed me the freedom to travel and it gave me solitude at times I needed it. I loved driving around the city between work appointments, listening to news or music, and sometimes provided an escape on a stressful day.

Co-workers and I celebrated 7 years together
Co-workers and I celebrated 7 years together

I again felt like a grown-up when Boyfriend and I packed up our lives and moved to the Great State of Texas to start a new life. My Boyfriend finished his Associate’s degree two weeks before I finished the rest of my agency’s contract with the City of Chicago and we left for Texas two days later. We spent the next few weeks driving back and forth to find an apartment in a town we had never visited before, to find a job for me and for Boyfriend to explore the continuation his education and other opportunities. I further felt like a grown-up when we returned home a few weeks later to retrieve the rest of our belongings and my car, which after $600 in repairs, died and needed replacing. Grown-ups deal with frequent problems, right? So I bought a new car, eventually found a job, and Boyfriend determined that he would stop at an Associate’s degree to pursue other options. Everything worked out for us, though not without a little sweating.

 In my previous job as a juvenile case manager, I had flashes of feeling grown-up as I strived to be a positive influence on trouble youth and families. I reached out as an understanding voice that tried to show youth the value of hard work, the importance of making good choices and planning for their futures, while in the presence of their daily challenges. I sometimes had flashbacks to what my parents and coaches told me, and I felt proud to pass on that knowledge.

Maybe I have more in common with my parents and the “grown-ups” who affected me, positively and negatively. I get up, some days begrudgingly, to do the best I can for that day, trying to be responsible, pay my bills and find a bit of joy and fun when boyfriend and I can, though I’m not sure when the “grown-up” thing will really stick. 

© blogdaysofchrell 2015